A fine (arts) exhibition

Nadene Budden gives the lowdown on this year’s Bachelor of Fine Arts graduation exhibition.

Usually, as the year draws to a close, those lucky enough to be almost-graduates from the Bachelor of Fine Arts get the opportunity to post their final year’s work across campus, as a showcase for the rest of us. This year, however, is unusual.

This year will be the last time the graduation exhibition comes together under Fine Arts before new degree, Bachelor of Creative Industries, absorbs it in 2017.

This year will be the first time the combined efforts of 48 graduating students will be showcased in Watt Space in Newcastle as a proper exhibition.

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“The theme I’m exploring is the use of non-human species in scientific experiments to work out ways to prolong the human life. Genetic modification, disease eradication and creating animals to carry human organs are just some of the methods scientists are exploring at this present time. This artwork explores these elements as I try to understand the destruction and slaughter of innocent non-human species for our own benefit and our human supremacy over other life forms.”

UON Bachelor of Fine Arts student, Danielle Minett said, “we’ve got the whole space to spread out all of our works and really showcase them in a proper gallery environment this year, which is really nice”.

With 72 works across mediums, from painting and drawing to printmaking, sculpture and video (as well as some stop-motion animation), the exhibition will present the efforts of students in the last six months of their degree.

As a way of looking towards the futures of graduating students and the merging of Fine Arts in Creative Industries, the exhibition is fittingly titled Imagining Futures. Aided with the advice from their lecturers, students have not only been researching for and creating these works, but have organised and promoted the exhibition themselves too.

“With the degree changing, a lot of stuff has been going on with the staff,” Minett said, in her second year on the organising committee. “It’s a whole lot more involved than just pinning things up on a wall,” she said.

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“This work represents what happens to our memories when stored away. They become like shipwrecks – changed and altered by the depths of our minds. When we revisit them, they are no longer what we stored and we can no longer know what is true and what has been changed.”

Setting up the exhibition at Watt Space, there has been even more opportunities for students to promote Imagining Futures and to gain support from the local community and artists as well. This year, the graduation show has become an event for people from both inside and outside UON.

As well as a handful of students from the school, local artist, James Drinkwater, will be at the opening night to officially open the show and speak about his experience as a local artist and member of the local community.

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“The exploration of relationships between the human experience and a reconnection with nature is a theme that I keep revisiting within my work. Birth, metamorphosis, transformation and death through iconography that is symbolically significant of these concepts. With a constant engagement with video, sound, projections and installations work I create an engulfing experience for the audience”

“The quality is amazing; people have really done the best to showcase in this show, which is fantastic,” Minett said. And hopefully it continues in the years to come as Watt Space becomes a defined part of UON life.

Imagining Futures is this year’s Bachelor of Fine Arts graduation show and will be at Watt Space in Newcastle until 27th November. Join the celebrations of opening night from 6:30PM this Thursday, 17th November.

Images via Liane Audrins and Danielle Minett.